For both new and old bloggers, sometimes the hardest part of blogging is the process of taking an idea and turning it into something others can appreciate. By breaking each part down into unique actions, a daunting post gets digested into bite-sized pieces. Today, socialTNT shares our 8 step process for writing better blog posts.
1. Look for inspiration
Most of my ideas come to me while I’m at work–a client asks a question or a brainstorm leads to a new thought. Also, reading my favorite blogs, their comments or a heated Twitter discussion can get my mental juices flowing. I’ve even had inspiration hit while I’m at the gym. Inspiration can come from anywhere, so carry a notebook to jot ideas down before you forget.
2. Research Your Topic
Choose anidea and research it on Google, Wikipedia and other blogs. Spend 20 – 30 minutes filling your head with everything there is to know about the topic so your thoughts can pour out when you start writing. Remember: Research can also spawn ideas for future posts.
3. Take A Break
Grab a snack. Walk around the block. Give your brain 5 minutes to process what you’ve just learned.
4. Brainstorm Post Ideas
Take 10 -15 minutes and make a list of all everything that comes to mind. Stay positive and don’t judge the ideas while brainstorming. No idea is too dumb, small, big, etc. Write it all down. You never know what may spawn something newer and better. Keep the list–you never know when you’ll need some ideas.
5. Conduct follow-up research (Optional)
The idea you chose after the brainstorm might need a little more research with some tighter search terms. Email or call a friend, expert or anyone who can help sort out your thoughts or give you deeper insight.
6. Just Effing Write
Choose an idea and write. Don’t worry about making it perfect. If you’re like me, then you’re your worst critic. I used to kill so many posts before they were written by worrying whether they would be too basic or not eloquent enough. Some of the posts I’ve worried most about before publishing seem to be the ones that get the most traffic/comments–once they get written. So don’t let the fear of failure get in the way of creating something great. Just effing write it!
7. Proof it. Clean it up. Give it to a friend
This is the editing phase. Now is your chance to be critical. Read it once for grammar and once for clarity. You may find that you need to write more or cut back a lot. Don’t fret. No one writes perfect posts each time they sit down. Just write. If you start to get too critical, pass it on to a trusted friend for feedback
8. Publish that Bad Boy
Your idea is no longer a child, so set it free. It will mature as comments and discussion grow around it. Smile! You just shared an idea with the world. You are a part of history!
What steps do you take to keep your blog in shape? How do you fight writer’s block? Let us know in the comments!
[This post inspired by “A Technique for Producing Ideas” by James Webb Young, the 43 Folders blog by Merlin Mann, and “Getting Things Done” by David Allen]
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[The above photo, “Vieja Maquina de Escribir. / Old Writing Machine.” by Gonzalo Barrientos on Flickr, used under Creative Commons]